A new multi-million pound exhibition opens underground in York Minster
PUBLISHED: 00:20 02 July 2013 | UPDATED: 20:27 24 April 2016
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A new visitor attraction, said to be the biggest in any cathedral in the country, has opened in York Minster. Revealing York Minster tells the story of the last 2,000 years at the historic site and includes artefacts never seen before on public display. The project is staged in the minster’s underground chambers where the remains of a Roman barracks, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery and the foundations of the original Norman Minster, were uncovered during excavations in the 1970s.
‘York Minster has stood at the heart of the city for centuries, but even before that, this site was instrumental in the growth of York, from a military barracks into a major conurbation,’ said the Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull. ‘This means that the land upon which the cathedral now stands has been a centre – military, political, social and theological – for that whole time, influencing not only regional but national history.
‘For the first time, Revealing York Minster brings together the archaeological discoveries and the written archives – dating back to the 7th century. But this is not just a story about the past: it will provide visitors with an insight into the evolution of the city, and York Minster’s central role within that, right up to the present day with a glimpse at the people who work behind the scenes, making use of the very latest technology.’
York Minster Revealed is a five-year project scheduled for completion in early summer 2016. It is the largest restoration and conservation project of its kind in the country. The cost of the whole York Minster Revealed Project is £20 million, of which £10.5m has been supported with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The remainder of the money has been raised by York Minster.
State-of-the-art multi-media galleries, new displays of historic collections and interactive interpretations will create new learning opportunities for all ages.
Also improved access to the South Transept, Undercroft, Treasury and Crypt will totally transform the experience of visiting York Minster.
‘As visitors wander through the attraction, they will notice that this is not simply about history made in the past – York Minster continues to make history today, and indeed, this attraction will form a new significant part of the timeline for the Minster,’ said Mark Hosea, project director of York Minster Revealed. ‘This is a place visited by kings and queens for centuries, and the work being done within the cathedral today – whether looking after worshippers or conserving priceless stained glass – ensures that time never stands still here.
The process of bringing together all this information about York Minster has itself created a new legacy for future generations recorded in minute detail, whilst the conservation work taking place all around the building, on the Great East Window and on the masonry, will ensure that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren can continue to enjoy this magnificent building.’ n